By: KDKA-TV News Staff
HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A fire badly damaged the Hutchinson and Gunter, Inc. building in Hempfield Township, and now the owners are picking up what’s left of the family business.
“To see all those years of your family go up in fire, it’s a shame,” said the owners’ family member, who didn’t want to be named.
Decades of hard work, destroyed within seconds.
“It’s a very large building,” said Hempfield Township Fire Chief Anthony Kovacic. “Arriving, we had heavy fire showing, extending from the building.”
The chief says the building went up in flames around 4 a.m. About 12 people work in the building, but no one was in there at the time.
The chief also says one firefighter was injured, but is expected to be okay.
However, the owners are worried they lost a piece of history.
“My grandfather had so many people over the years working there part-time or in the summers when they were kids. So you have everything, from people who were principals in schools, to people who own their own businesses, and it has been a staple,” said the family member.
The family member says his grandfather, Ed Hutchinson, built the structure on Grove Street in 1966 and started the business in 1949.
Hutchinson is best known for serving as the Greensburg fire chief for 63 years. He passed down the sheet metal company to his two sons, who are also firefighters, after he died in 2018.
“My dad went in there because he is a fireman, and I saw him come out and he had a calendar of all his grandkids, so it’s just a piece of our family. It’s tough,” said the family member.
Along with hopes that there is a future for this business.
“Knowing my dad and uncle, they’ll try to keep things rolling,” said the family member.
The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire and if it’s a total loss.